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Francis Francis X1 - Al E's Review
Posted: June 8, 2005, 7:09am
review rating: 5.4
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Francis Francis X1
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Arrow The Francis Francis X1 has 43 Reviews
Arrow The Francis Francis X1 has been rated 7.20 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Francis Francis X1 reviews have been viewed 255,030 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Scott Smith 8.75
Patrick Moss 8.00
Josh Alwitt 8.00
Steve Strawman 8.00
Phil M 7.60

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.0
Manufacturer: Francis! Francis! Quality: 8
Average Price: $799.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $1,000.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: aabree Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 3 years Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: X2 -- this review is for the X2
Bottom Line: Francis Francis brew me away with the X2 (get it?  "Brew me away"??  Sorry.)
Positive Product Points

Two group machine
More than enough steam
Dual functionality as conversation piece (!)
Stands up to more expensive models

Negative Product Points

Gauges need some calibration / maintenance
Clock is worthless accoutrement
Warming tray....doesn't

Detailed Commentary

(NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE X2.) "Learn how to prime the pump" should be the mantra for this machine (or at least the one I purchased).  This has been the only real complaint I  can make about the X2.  Worth the price because it makes an excellent, crema-laden, thick double, and micro-foams all the livelong day (no kidding -- you can remove tattoos and neutralize home radon with the quantity of foam it delivers).  I've used any number of consumer and pro machines and this is the BEST VALUE one -- it provides aesthetics (important to my wife, who has an eye for it), consistently fine espresso, excellent response to regular cleaning, and, as I said, enough steam for a Pink Floyd concert.  Go the extra mile for the two-group machine -- especially if you're pulling shots for more than one person in the morning.  The time saved is not a trivial thing (we drink -- EACH OF US -- an 8-10 shot drink with a little microfoam EVERY MORNING.  If this is not your case, you can probably go with a single group machine (the X1), but it's like laptop screen size: you'll never say:  jeez, I wish I didn't have so much real estate!

Buying Experience

Aabree was just okay.  I bought a solis maestro from them at the same time, and they kicked some price points off the total, which was good.  The maestro self-destructed, with no repair possible, and because it was after warranty they were not interested in my request for a discount on a replacement grinder (I bought a mini mazzer from WLL).

Three Month Followup

Since I wrote this review the X2 has performed less than average....right side cannot be primed nor does any water flow from the screen.  Will have to dismantle and inspect to identify if it's airbound or if there is something wrong with the boiler or electrical components.  But on the left side, still happy with the performance, and works great with the mazzer mini grinding the beans.

Francis Francis is not a first timer machine.  If you 're not familiar with the subtleties of espresso making, you'd be better off with a simpler, single group machine.  Espresso machines are, like wine, something that is an acquired taste, and the sophistication of the machine should be matched with the maturity of one's palate and experience with home-made espresso drinks.  

This said, I would probably buy a two-group machine in the commercial range next.  The X2 gets used pretty hard (20-24 shots per day, seven days a week) for a home model.  The problems I've had would happen to any machine with that kind of use, with the probable exception of commercial grade equipment.  But I'm at least a year or two away from that purchase, so in a year, I'll give you my lowdown on where the X2 stands.

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review rating: 5.4
Posted: June 8, 2005, 7:09am
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